“WITH LOVE AND KISSES”: PRESENTATION FIRST EDITION OF SERENADE, WARMLY INSCRIBED BY CAIN
CAIN, James M. Serenade. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1937. Octavo, original black cloth decorated in silver, original dust jacket. $2000.
First edition of Cain’s bold second novel, book and striking dust jacket designed by W. A. Dwiggins, warmly inscribed by the author, “To Dora Einzig, with love and kisses, James M. Cain, July 15, 1938.”
Exploring many of the same themes as his acclaimed first novel The Postman Always Rings Twice (1934), this novel was “daring for its period in its presentation of a bisexual hero” (Encyclopedia of Literature, 196). Cain would recall, “This story goes back to my try-to-be-a-singer days… It cooked until 1937, when I went to Mexico and got it over with” (University of Maryland, Cain Collection). “A complex and bravura blend of exotica, opera and murder… Serenade was well-reviewed and remains widely admired. Some people consider it Cain’s best book” (Smiley & Bell, 41). nfluential book artist William Addison Dwiggins designed both the volume and its dust jacket, which on this copy is printed with red as the dominant color; no priority established. “Only rarely was Dwiggins involved with dust wrappers, and this was one of his best efforts” (Smiley & Bell, 41). Owner signature.
Faintest foxing to front free endpaper. Small and light marginal staining to several leaves, seldom affecting text. A few minor abrasions to fresh, bright boards, gilt decorations quite bright and attractive. Fragile original dust jacket with mild edge-wear and modest toning. A very good copy, scarce inscribed.